Case Studies

National Institute on Aging Division of Behavioral and Social Research External Reviews


National Institute on Aging (NIA)


For the growing population of older adults in the United States, scientific and social advances have the potential to transform both the understanding and experience of aging. NIA’s Division of Behavioral and Social Research (BSR) supports social, behavioral, psychological, and economic research and training on the processes of aging at the individual and societal levels. This work includes fostering cross-disciplinary research, from genetic analyses to cross-national comparative studies, and at stages ranging from basic research to dissemination and translation. NIA requires long-term support to assess divisional impact and inform future directions to help advance its mission.

How RLA Moved Science Forward

RLA provided scientific review management services for the 2004, 2008, and 2013 external reviews of BSR. The purpose of the reviews was to assess whether the overall performance and future trajectory of research BSR promotes and supports are appropriate. In each review, numerous subcommittees were formed to examine specific research topic areas. Specific tasks RLA performed included drafting of teleconference and meeting agendas, meeting planning activities to facilitate efficient discussions and review of voluminous background information, coordination of various ancillary subcommittee activities in support of the review, and, most importantly, drafting, revising, and producing the final reports. In 2007 and 2016, RLA also supported two reviews of BSR’s data infrastructure efforts. In 2022, RLA assisted extensively with the external review of the NIA Division of Aging Biology (DAB). RLA provided the review committee with background material to assist in its deliberations throughout the review process, including summaries of key findings from committee discussions. These summaries helped inform the scientific priorities the committee identified, which were synthesized into the final report presented at the May 2022 meeting of the National Advisory Council on Aging.


RLA’s work helped NIA reflect on division activities to enhance alignment and identify opportunities in service of its mission to support and conduct genetic, biological, clinical, behavioral, social, and economic research on aging; foster the development of scientists in aging; provide research resources; and disseminate information about aging and research advances to audiences including the public, health care professionals, and the scientific community.


  • Write and edit programmatic review meeting summaries and final reports
  • Provide technical and logistical meeting support
  • Conduct research and analysis